11 Nov, 2009

Unemployed young people are motivated, flexible and keen to work

A new report examining the impact of the recession on young people in the UK, has found that the majority of 18-24 year olds are highly motivated with a strong work ethic. They are keen to work and have a flexible attitude to the type of jobs they are willing to do. The report, ‘False starts: restoring hope, dignity and opportunity to young people’, published by welfare to work provider Reed in Partnership, also identified a reluctance on the part of young people to consider unpaid activities that will help them find employment. In a national survey of over 1,200 unemployed young people, only 45{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e} said they would take part in unpaid training, 44{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e} in unpaid work, 39{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e} unpaid voluntary work and just 36{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e} would undertake an unpaid internship. Published at a time when the number of under 25s out of work hits its highest level since the early 1990s , the report outlines a strong need to challenge young people so they are more aware of the benefits of taking part in unpaid work and training as a means of developing their skills and future prospects. The report also found that: When young people were asked what the most significant barrier preventing them from gaining employment was, 71{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e} of young people felt there was too much competition for jobs, 52{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e} blamed a lack of experience, 38{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e} said there were no suitable jobs and 18{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e} professed a lack of confidence. Only 16{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e} of young people identified a lack of skills as a barrier to employment. The survey revealed that many unemployed graduates were extremely worried about the impact the recession would have on their long-term career prospects. There was a strong perception from many young people that businesses prefer to take on older workers with more experience rather than recruit young people who may require more development and training. There is a need for a varied and personalised policy approach to take account of the changing economy and the needs of young people themselves. The report outlines ten recommendations that aim to help more young people enter employment. Chris Melvin, Chief Executive of Reed in Partnership, comments: “With unemployment at its highest level since the early 1990s, young people are undoubtedly feeling the full force of the recession. “The vast majority of the young people we spoke to confounded the traditional stereotype. They were very clear that they did not want to be reliant on the state and that they are looking for an opportunity to earn their way and to build a career. “We spoke to a number of young people who had served apprenticeships, become qualified within their industries but now find themselves out of work with few jobs to apply for. We heard how many people leaving university are not able to secure minimum wage jobs, let alone the graduate placements they had hoped for. We cannot allow these young people to become the lost generation of jobless people. “Whilst the majority of young people were very motivated to find a job, our report also identifies the need to challenge our young people. Too few are prepared to undertake unpaid activities such as training and work experience which would help them become more attractive in the labour market.” credit: onrec.com

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